Category: writing prompts

Harry Potter Word Crawl: Year One


For those of you who have never taken a dip into the NaNoWriMo forums, here’s a little taste of what you’re missing! Today, we’re bringing you a Harry Potter-themed word crawl, slightly modified from the original created by NaNoWriMo participant “my little bird”. Can you navigate your first year at Hogwarts and boost your Camp NaNoWriMo word count?

You receive your Hogwarts letter by owl and are completely ecstatic to head out for your first year at Hogwarts. Sprint to 100 words to let out your excitement and energy.

Part 1: Diagon Alley

You arrive in Diagon Alley and your first stop is Gringotts, wizard bank. Write for ten minutes. The amount of words you write will determine how many Galleons are in your vault.

Less than 150 words: 1 Galleon
150-300 words: 2 Galleons
More than 300 words: 3 Galleons

You step into Ollivander’s wand shop. What kind of wand will choose you? Roll a die and multiply your roll by 100. Sprint to that many words.

100-200 words: Your wand has a core of unicorn hair.
300-400 words: Your wand has a core of dragon heartstring.
500-600 words: Your wand has a core of phoenix feather.

Finally, you’re done shopping! But before you leave, you decide that you want to purchase a pet. Write for 15 minutes as you search for the perfect animal for you. Pick one: owl, cat, or toad. (Bonus galleon for putting that creature in your novel somewhere!)

Part 2: Hogwarts Express


After months of waiting, you’ve arrived on platform 9 ¾ and boarded the Hogwarts Express! Write to the nearest thousand as you settle into your seat and get ready for a long ride. If you need to write more than 500 words for this challenge and choose not to skip this round, take one Galleon. If you skip a round during Part 2, pay 1 Galleon.

Anything off the trolley, dear? Buy some sweets to help get you through the ride! Depending on your candy, find your challenge below!

Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans: Participate in a Fifty Headed Hydra (a.k.a. an attempt to write 500 words in 5 minutes) as you frantically try to get the taste of earwax out of your mouth.
Chocolate Frog: Write for five minutes as you chase down the frog.
Licorice Wand: Sprint to 150 words.
Pumpkin Pasties: Roll a die and multiply by 50. Write that many words.

Part 3: The Sorting Hat


You arrive at the castle and wait in the hall with the rest of the first years. You notice a boy with messy black hair and glasses talking with a redheaded boy, a girl with bushy hair whispering to the people around her, and a boy with pale… well, everything. Write for ten minutes as you attempt to socialize with the people around you. If you skip a round during Part 3, pay 2 Galleons.

Professor McGonagall escorts you and your peers into the Great Hall for the Sorting. After the Sorting Hat sings its song and several students walk up timidly, your name is called, and you sit yourself down on the stool, worried about what is about to happen. McGonagall places the hat on your head, and you are sorted into your House. Pick from the four Houses—Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin.

Gryffindor: Are you brave enough to write ten times your typing speed in 10 minutes?
Hufflepuff: Remain loyal to your word count and write steadily for 45 minutes with no breaks.
Ravenclaw: Calculate how many words it will take for you to write to the nearest 1000, then write them to get there.
Slytherin: You’re an ambitious one, aren’t you? Write 750 words in 30 minutes!

The feast is delicious! Do the Three Digit Challenge as you eat at your House table and talk with those around you, as well as your House ghost. If you are in Hufflepuff, you know your chambers are near the kitchen, so you may save room for later and skip this round for free.

Part 4: Life in the Castle

You’ve settled into your dormitory quite quickly and nicely, and your first couple weeks of class go well. Write for an hour as you grow accustomed to your new classes and all of the magic you’re learning. If you skip a round during Part 4, pay 3 Galleons.

If you write up to 750 words within the hour: Earn 2 Galleons.
If you write between 750—1,250 words within the hour: Earn 3 Galleons.
If you write over 1,250 words within the hour: Earn 4 Galleons.

On your way to Potions, the messy haired boy who you now know is Harry Potter stops and asks you if you know where Professor Binns’ classroom is. Write 200 words in 10 minutes as you try to remember where his classroom is.

If you succeed: Harry hurries to Binns’ classroom and gives you a Galleon as a thank you for your help.
If you fail: You spend so much time trying to help Harry that you are both late to your next class. Write another 200 words as you apologize to Snape and try not to lose any points for your House.
If you are in Slytherin, Snape likes you and lets you skip this round for free.

That night, you get locked out of your common room and Mrs. Norris finds you! You run with Harry, Ron, and Hermione to the third door corridor, and you find a giant three-headed dog! After making it back to your dormitory safely, roll a die, multiply your roll by 100, and write that many words as you try to calm down.

Troll! In the dungeon! You go with Harry and Ron to find Hermione and end up fighting the troll with them. Sprint to 250 words, and try not to get yourself killed. If you are in Gryffindor, you fight the troll bravely and may skip this round for free.

You go down to Hagrid’s hut to have tea with him. When you try his treacle fudge, your teeth get stuck together! Write for fifteen minutes as Hagrid tries to help and Madam Pomfrey magically loosens the cement-like effect the fudge had on your mouth.

Months pass, and it’s Christmas morning! You receive 3 Galleons from your parents, as well as a challenge from the Weasley twins. Write 1000 words in under an hour.

If you succeed: They give you a Galleon.
If you fail: They hit you with snowballs until you’re buried under heavy amounts of snow and make you write 250 more words.

During the Gryffindor vs Slytherin Quidditch game, you get incredibly excited. Roll a die. If even, you’re cheering for Gryffindor; if odd, you’re cheering for Slytherin. Word war for fifteen minutes with someone cheering for the opposite team. If you beat them, you win your bet, and you take 2 of their Galleons. But be careful—if you lose, you give them 2 of your Galleons. A bet’s a bet.

Part 5: Through the Trapdoor

Harry tells you that he suspects that Snape is going after the Philosopher’s Stone and you decide to go with the trio to try to get to the Stone before Snape does. But before you can even go down the trapdoor, you need to make it past Fluffy. Write for ten minutes as you lull him to sleep sneak through the door. If you are in Ravenclaw, you know exactly how to keep Fluffy asleep and may skip this round for free. If you skip a round during Part 5, pay 4 Galleons.

Oh no—you and your friends are trapped in a patch of Devil’s Snare! Hermione tells you that you need to write 300 words in five minutes in order to safely escape.

If you succeed: You make it out of the deadly plant without a scratch and even spot a Galleon on the ground. What luck!
If you fail: Hermione has to set the plant on fire to get you out alive. She thinks very poorly of your skills now, so write another 300 words to impress her.

Harry catches a flying key and opens a large wooden door. Inside the next room is a giant wizard chess set. You and your friends need to replace some of the pieces and play the game. Ron takes the place of a knight, Harry becomes a bishop, and Hermione takes over for a rook. Pick a chess piece and complete the challenge below! Keep in mind that you are not allowed to skip this round even if you have enough Galleons to do so.

Pawn: You know you won’t be of much use to the game and think it would be wisest to be taken out early. Complete a Fifty Headed Hydra and take a fifteen minute writing break to recover from your injuries.
Rook: You take the place of the other rook and spend the game running across the board, strategically taking out important pieces of the other side’s team. Sprint to 200 and take a five minute writing break once the game is won.
Bishop: You take the place of the other bishop and sneakily take out pawns on the other team. Write for 20 minutes and take a five minute writing break once the game is won.
Knight: You take the place of the other knight and become the wild card of the match. Write 300 words in 15 minutes until you’re taken out by one of the other team’s rooks. Take a fifteen minute writing break to recover from your injuries.

Harry and Hermione move ahead into the next room while you stay with Ron. When Hermione comes back, sprint to 500 words as you run to find Dumbledore and explain the situation to him.

The word gets out that Professor Quirrell is the one who wanted the stone, not Snape! Rumors also spread of your bravery in helping Harry, Ron, and Hermione as you four went through the challenges the professors set to protect the stone. Dumbledore awards you fifty points for your courage. Write for five minutes as your peers congratulate and admire you.

Summer vacation is here! Take an hour-long writing break—you deserve it!

This word sprint originally appeared in the Extreme Harry Potter Crawl: Year One forum by NaNoWriMo user “my little bird”. For more writing games, check out our Word Wars, Prompts, and Crawls forum.

NaNoWriMo New Character GeneratorWant to add a little extra…

NaNoWriMo New Character Generator

Want to add a little extra oomph into your story? Or need someone to help get your main character out of a bind? Use your name and birthday to find out what new character you should introduce into your current work in progress!

And don’t forget to update your Camp NaNoWriMo projects—it’s not to late to start!

Follow @nanowrimo and @nanowordsprints on Twitter for more inspiration, and tune in to the Virtual Write-Ins on Youtube.

prompt 994

Words for describing a state less than full-out anger:






Taking umbrage





Put out










prompt 993

Every work of literature has both a situation and a story. The situation is the context or circumstance, sometimes the plot; the story is the emotional experience that preoccupies the writer: the insight, the wisdom, the thing one has come to say.

—Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story, the Art of Personal Narrative

prompt 992

Here is what I want you to know:  It’s OK to be alone.

prompt 991

Answer the following questions and then write about the creature that emerge from that exercise.

Forget Disney. You are making a mermaid or a siren. What type of mermaid is it? Are they pretty? Are they weird? How big are they? What color/s? Do they speak.

Sirens: what does their song sound like? What do they say? How do they capture you? What do they do once they capture you? Can they communicate with humans?

Let yourself go. Have fun!

prompt 990

I was going to read the news today, but I didn’t get a paper. Can you tell me what happened?

(Feel free to fictionalize this one, or not. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!)

prompt 989

Once you grow past Mommy and Daddy coming running when you’re hurt, you’re really on your own. You’re alone and there’s no one to help you.

                                                —Octavia E. Butler, author of Kindred

prompt 988

In olden times, a hope chest was a cedar chest in which you placed items you thought would be useful when you got married. Back then, this was for only women, but now, I think it could apply to everyone, regardless of gender, regardless of age. 

What would you put in your hope chest if you had one? (You can also use this as an exercise for one of your characters.)

prompt 987

No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar.

                                                           —Abraham Lincoln